archeology

The Forgery of the Piltdown Man

The Forgery of the Piltdown Man

On December 18, 1912, the discovery of the skull known as Piltdown man, the first important fossil human skull ever to be unearthed in England was announced at a meeting of the Geological Society of Great Britain. The specimen, known as Piltdown man, occupied an honored place in the catalogues of fossil hominids for the next 40 years. But in 1953, thanks to some rigorous scholarly detective work, Piltdown man…
Charles Thomas Newton and the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus

Charles Thomas Newton and the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus

On September 16, 1816, British archeologist Sir Charles Thomas Newton was born. Newton excavated sites in southwestern Turkey and disinterred the remains of one of the Seven Wonders of the ancient world, the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus (at present-day Bodrum, Turkey). Newton also helped to establish systematic methods for archaeology. Charles Thomas Newton received his Masters Degree in 1840 from the Christ Church, Oxford. From the beginning of his studies, he was probably…
Michael Ventris and the Minoan Linear B

Michael Ventris and the Minoan Linear B

On July 12, 1922, English architect and linguist Michael Ventris was born. Along with John Chadwick and Alice Kober, Ventris deciphered Linear B, a previously unknown ancient script discovered at Knossos by Arthur Evans. He showed that the Minoan Linear B script was a very early form of Greek, the oldest known examples. Michael Ventris was born as the only child into a traditional army family to Edward Francis Vereker…
Leo Frobenius and German Ethnography

Leo Frobenius and German Ethnography

On June 29, 1873, German ethnologist and archaeologist Leo Viktor Frobenius was born. He proposed a theory that culture evolves through stages of youth, maturity, and age. He helped to spread knowledge of West African art and culture throughout Europe. He made a series of twelve major expeditions throughout Africa, gathering knowledge of art and culture, travelling across the deserts, savannahs and rain forests of Africa and South Africa, the River…
Francesco Scipione, Marchese di Maffei

Francesco Scipione, Marchese di Maffei

On June 1, 1675, Italian writer and art critic, author, antiquarian and humanist Francesco Scipione, marchese di Maffei was born. His publications on Etruscan antiquities stand as incunabula of Etruscology, he engaged in running skirmishes in print with his rival in the field of antiquities, Antonio Francesco Gori. Marchese di Maffei came from an influential family in Bologna. His brother was the General Alessandro Maffei, a Lieutenant General of Infantry in Bavarian service.…
Antonio Bosio and the Rediscovery of the Roman Catacombs

Antonio Bosio and the Rediscovery of the Roman Catacombs

  On May 31, 1578, the Catacombs of Rome were discovered by accident. A sepulchral chamber was opened by some laborers digging for pozzolana earth. Ecclesiastical historian Caesar Baronius was one of the first to visit the new discovery. Fifteen years later, in December 1593, 18-yr-old Antonio Bosio began a lifetime exploring the catacombs researching them for his volume, Roma Sotterranea. Antonio Bosio was born in Malta. As a young…
Lawrence of Arabia

Lawrence of Arabia

On May 19, 1935, archaeologist and British Army officer Thomas Edward Lawrence died fatally injured in a motorcycle accident in Dorset. Renowned especially for his liaison role during the Sinai and Palestine Campaign, and the Arab Revolt against Ottoman Turkish rule of 1916–18. The breadth and variety of his activities and associations, and his ability to describe them vividly in writing, earned him international fame as Lawrence of Arabia. Thomas Edward Lawrence…
The Works of Lord Avebury

The Works of Lord Avebury

On April 30, 1834, banker, Liberal politician, philanthropist, scientist and polymath John Lubbock, 1st Baron Avebury was born. He was a banker and worked with his family’s company, but also made significant contributions in archaeology, ethnography, and several branches os biology. He helped establish archaeology as a scientific discipline, and was also influential in nineteenth-century debates concerning evolutionary theory. John Lubbock also coined the terms Neolithic and Paleolithic. John Lubbock…
Augustus Lane-Fox Pitt Rivers – the Father of British Archaeology

Augustus Lane-Fox Pitt Rivers – the Father of British Archaeology

On April 14, 1832, English army officer, ethnologist, and archaeologist Augustus Henry Lane-Fox Pitt Rivers was born. He is often called the “father of British archaeology”, who stressed the need for total excavation of sites, through stratigraphic observation and recording, and prompt and complete publication. Like Sir Flinders Petrie, Pitt-Rivers adopted a sociological approach to the study of excavated objects and emphasized the instructional value of common artifacts. Pitt Rivers…
Henry Rawlinson and the Mesopotamian Cuneiform

Henry Rawlinson and the Mesopotamian Cuneiform

On April 11, 1810, British East India Company army officer, politician and Orientalist Sir Henry Creswicke Rawlinson was born. As an army officer, became interested in antiquities after his assignment to reorganize the Persian army. He accomplished the translation of the Old Persian portion of the trilingual mutilingual cuneiform inscription of Darius I on the hillside at Behistun, Iran, which provided the key to the deciphering of Mesopotamian cuneiform script.…
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